New store sample: Match & Move

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For meditative projects that are reliably satisfying and highly wearable, I’m a huge fan of Martina Behm’s designs. Match and Move is her latest and I immediately queued it as a good project to use up partial skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light I had leftover from several different projects. To really ensure it was a relaxing process in every way, I even saved myself the agony of decision-making about colour order by letting my 10-year-old son select the next colour whenever I finished one. This worked out so well, I might do it more often! I did run out of the Onyx (black) colourway on the very last repeat but just finished up the last 6 rows with Charcoal (grey) – no biggie, I think it looks great or, at least, not terrible. I’m not sure how much of each colour I used in the end but now that I’ve done this pattern once, I wouldn’t worry about having enough for each section if I were to do another one – I’d just put together a palette of yarns I liked and change colours as they ran out.

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.

If you’re curious, photos of the projects the leftovers came from are at the end of this post.

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Below are the projects the leftover yarns came from:

Exploration Station

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Color Block Cardigan

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Happy Street

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22 Little Clouds

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Madelinetosh yarns are available in our online store.

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– Melissa

New store sample: Thistle

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Thistle by Lili Comme Tout is a simple boy’s sweater we couldn’t resist knitting in a classic, nautical style for summer. Though basic in form, thoughtful details like fake seams, slipped stitches, and waistband buttons add interest and keep this from being anything but boring.   We thought this would be a great project for Butterfly Super 10 – a high performing cotton yarn with a gorgeous sheen. Not only is it machine washable, but it won’t shrink or pill – an ideal choice for kid’s garments! Knitted seamlessly from the the bottom up.

Click here for additional details and project photos on our Ravelry page.

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– Melissa

Free pattern Friday: Pretty Enough Pullover

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(Photo: Skacel)

The Pretty Enough Pullover by Alexander Nicholas is designed and knit with CoBaSi yarn – a cotton / bamboo / silk blend perfect for summer wear and a great all-season option for those allergic to wool. This stylish and simple sweater is knit sleeve-to-sleeve in two parts and then seamed together to create a relaxed top with plenty of ease (one size fits most). It uses less than two hanks each of two colors of CoBaSi and, at a gauge of 14 sts per 4″, can be finished in no time at all!

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– Melissa

Sweater 101 – Raglans

If you are new to knitting sweaters, the sheer amount of choice out there can be daunting. Where to begin?

I’ll tell you. That is, I am going to talk a bit about the different styles, knit in pieces or in the round and will try to explain the good, the bad and no uglies.

Let’s start with the Raglan sweater. Any kind of sweater that has the sleeves attached diagonally to the front and back are called Raglan sweaters. They can be knit in pieces, from the bottom up or from the top down.

When knitting a Raglan sweater from the top down, there are usually only two little seams at the underarm to sew. If you do not like sewing pieces together, this one is for you. Knitting them bottom up is almost as good, however, while knitting top down you can try your sweater on to see if the length of the body and sleeves are the perfect length, whereas when knitting bottom up you just follow the measurements of the pattern. It is of course possible to adjust the length bottom up also.

As with all sweaters, seams add structure to the sweater. If you choose to knit the sleeves a different color than the body – Baseball Tee style, for example – you are going to have to knit your sweater in pieces, seam it and finish it off with a collar.

Stripes are easily added when knitting raglans in the round, both top down and bottom up make it easy to align the stripes of the sleeves with the stripes of the body – if so wanted.

When knitting a Raglan sweater, no matter how, you are going to have to pay a bit of attention to either increases or decreases. Stitch markers make this easy for sweaters knit in the round. If you are new to the Raglan sweater, have a look at the schematic in the pattern, make yourself familiar with the construction and what the different parts of a sweater are called.

You most probably will find talk of ‘neck’, ‘yoke’, ‘sleeves’ and ‘body’. The neck is straightforward, the yoke is the part with all the increases/decreases. Body and sleeves are also easily assigned.

Some Raglan sweaters have the same neckline on front and back – those are very easy to knit in the round. Sweaters with a deeper front neckline (be it crew, round or v) are worked back and forth before completion of the neckline, after that you’ll join for knitting in the round. Some patterns add short rows on the yoke, others rely on the increases only. When knitting bottom up, you knit the body in the round first up to where the yoke begins, knit the two sleeves and join the three pieces together to knit the yoke with the according decreases. If the front neckline is deeper, you are going to knit back and forth after starting it – which essentially means that bottom up is worked like top down just in the opposite order. If you are knitting a cardigan, the wole body and yoke part is knit back and forth, of couse, only the sleeves are knit in the round up to yoke.

I especially like knitting raglans in one piece for babies and kids. No bulky seams to be seen and no hassle with small pieces to sew together.

As with a lot of things in knitting, this style is a question of personal preference – some like it, others don’t. Find out by knitting one!

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona

…….and we’re back!

Lisa and I are home after our week away at TNNA – an exciting, exhausting, and incredibly rewarding week!  In addition to getting a first look at all of the new products on offer from industry suppliers, we also participated in some excellent business-focused courses that will help us to continue to grow Espace Tricot in all the right directions.  We learned so much and came back with so many ideas our heads are still buzzing a little! We were also treated to beautiful dinners among warm and generous company by Westminster Fibers, Estelle Yarns, and Kim Cole of Gleener fame, and enjoyed so many conversations with other retailers from across North America. The week flew by and, although we missed our husbands and sons, we could easily have spent another couple of days on “retreat” :-)

Rest assured that we will be reveal all of our new finds over the next little while – some sooner than later. In the meantime, a few things came in last week that we need to share…!

New Boxy Bags from ZigZagStitches

All of these are now available in store and online here.

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SweetGeorgia Re-stocked!

A fresh delivery of three of our faves from SweetGeorgia Yarns also arrived while we were away – two fingering (sock) weight yarns (CashLuxe Fine and Tough Love Sock) and one luscious lace weight (Cash Silk Lace). I’ll post project ideas for these shortly but, in the meantime, click on the links below the images to browse projects on Ravelry for inspiration – there are so many beautiful ones…

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Cashluxe FineProject inspiration | Purchase online

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Tough Love Sock – Project inspiration Purchase online

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CashSilk Lace – Project inspiration | Purchase online

– Melissa

We’re off to TNNA!

Lisa and I are off on our annual shopping trip to TNNA in Columbus, Ohio tomorrow where we’ll order mountains of yarn, notions, and accessories for the fall and winter seasons. TNNA is one of the largest industry trade shows of the year where retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, publishers, and designers all come together to show and discover new products, designs, trends, and techniques. It’s our mission to bring the latest and greatest on the knit and crochet scene back to Espace Tricot – new yarns, must-have gadgets, unique accessories, and more!

Blogging will be quiet through next Wednesday but stay tuned for exciting updates after the show.

:-)

– Melissa

New store samples

Lakeside Anniversary Wrap by CYNTHIA CUSHING

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We love the simple construction of the Lakeside Anniversary Wrap by Cynthia Cushing. Although this is essentially a rectangle (folded in half and then partially seamed along one edge), the designer thoughtfully addressed the tendency of stockinette to roll by knitting it  on the bias and incorporating an I-cord edge. Our version combines a glowing strand of Berroco Captiva with a strand of Shibui Silk Cloud (silk and mohair) for a luxurious wrap  that is open and airy and so very soft.

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.
Shibui Silk Cloud and Berroco Captiva can be purchased in our online store here and here.

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 Ship to Shore Shawl by Katie Rempie

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The Ship to Shore Shawl by Katie Rempie combines different stitch patterns and a larger needle size for a beautifully textured and lightweight accessory. This is our second version of this shawl; our first was knit with cashmere but we were curious to see how this would work with Sparrow from Quince & Co. As expected, the linen gives the shawl a crisp structure, lovely drape, and a cool, dry hand – all wonderful qualities in a summertime accessory.

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.
Quince & Co. Sparrow can be purchased in our online store here.

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Melissa

New store sample: Botanical Cowl(s)

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The Botanical Cowl by Megan Goodacre is a lovely warm-weather project featuring an airy double-eyelet pattern bordered by 4×4 rib at top and bottom. We knit both of our samples with Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk (Above: Salt Spray / Below: Turkish Delight) which is soft and cool with beautiful drape.  The designer provides instructions for either a single or double loop size – we opted to knit the longer versions for both but doubled the height of the grey / blue one above to create a more substantial piece and to maximize our yarn usage (1 full skein).  These make gorgeous summer accessories!

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.
Click here to purchase Handmaiden Sea Silk in our online store.

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Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.
Click here to purchase Handmaiden Sea Silk in our online store.

– Melissa

Free pattern Friday: Outline

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(Photos: Hedgehog Fibres)

Outline by Beata Jezek is a brilliant pattern for showcasing your coveted, hand-dyed skeins of fingering (sock) weight yarns. Use up leftovers, use all new skeins, or combine remnants with new indulgences to knit this simple but stunning wrap. As the designer says “this wrap lets your yarns shine and your mind rest. It’s a very easy, enjoyable knit, with a great knitting rhythm”.

The pattern can be easily customized in terms of length and width and the sky’s the limit where colour is concerned. Try using yarns that are of similar weight for best results.

– Melissa

Interchangeable Tips

I have a thing for interchangeable knitting needles – especially when they look so very  pretty as the Marblz do. I also enjoy knitting with the Symfonie Dreamz from Knitter’s Pride, specifically when I knit with cotton or linen.

There are things you can do with an interchangeable knitting needle set that you cannot with your regular fixed circulars. Today I have a few pointers in that direction, maybe you’ll even find something that you did not know before or never thought about.

First of all though, when attaching your interchangeables, please always use whatever little implement is included in the package to securely tighten them. The Kntter’s Pride sets have a little key that needs to be inserted in a hole in the cable which gives you a better grip when screwing on the needle, thus making it tighter. The Hiya Hiya kits include two little rubber pieces, one to hold the cord, the other to hold the needle with – again, to provide better grip and a tighter fit. Addi clicks do not need to be screwed and tightened so there is no gadget included, however, you want to make sure the cable actually clicks into position, and thus cannot detach itself.

I do not want to go on about how to generally use an interchangeable set, you know that it is possible to attach cords of different lengths, etc etc. What I am rather going to talk about is the stuff you do not think about at first, but will work nicely using your interchangeable kit.

There are a lot of useful things included in a kit – if not included, you often can buy them in addition. End caps, for example, are very useful. I never worry if I have the right size in use or not, if I do an want to start something else with the same size, I just detach the needles and screw on the end caps to make the cord into a stitch holder for my work in progress. To not forget which needle size you used, there are little tags with the needle size you can include on the cord, just to be sure!

You probably already know that when you knit a cardigan or sweater top down you can try it on during knitting. That’s really great – especially when you are indecisive about the length and need help to decide. I usually use a 32′ neelde to knit sweaters, which is too short to try on a sweater – in that case I just unscrew a needle, attach the cord extender, screw on another cord and an end cap or the needle with a needle stopper. This way I can securely try on my knitting on the go and see how much I yet have to knit.

I also like to use the shorter cables as stitch holder for the sleeves, since I prefer malleable holders to the metal rigid ones for sleeves. Don’t get me wrong, these have their uses and I do have quite a few of them, but for sleeves I prefer the cords.

Did you know that you can make two sets of the same size with just one pair of tips? When knitting in the round you always knit with the needle in your right hand. While we usually have the same size on the left hand needle, you can totally get away with using a tip a size smaller. This way you can knit two projects at the same time – only in the round though!! It does not work for flat knitting, because then we use both needles alternately. You can also knit very small circumferenes, instead of using double pointed needles, use the two circulars.

There are projects out there that ask to knit one row with a big needle and the next one with a much smaller one. Just attach the adequate size to your cable and go – no need to swith needles every row.

One thing you want to keep in mind in regard of interchangeable kits: keep them organized! I keep a good number of the keys to tighten the cords on a amall key ring as not to loose them, but have one or two in my notions case that I usually carry to work and one in my notions box in the living room. It is best to place the tips and cords back into the needle case when you are done with your project, otherwise you can loose track of where the needles are – and you might need the cord for another project. (No worries, if you need extra cords, you can buy them separately.)

Interchangeables are also the perfect travel companion. You always have a variety of needle sizes on hand contained in a neat little package.

What’s not to love?

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona

Chevron Baby Blanket Class

Still a few spots left in our Chevron Baby Blanket class beginning this Sunday evening – call us at 514-486-5648 to reserve your spot!


CHEVRON BABY BLANKET (Bilingual Class)
Francoise Richard-Devereaux
$90 for three 2-hour sessions
Sundays, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm: May 24, 31, June 7

Chevron Baby Blanket

Come join us and knit our beautiful Chevron Baby Blanket. This simple pattern is ideal for a first time blanket experience; you will learn several skills while  creating a fun and modern project. Required materials: Worsted weight yarn – 5 colours at 140 meters each (or more if you wish to make a larger version) and needles required to obtain gauge (usually 5 – 5.5mm circular needles). Prerequisites: Cast on, knit, purl, bind off

– Melissa

New store sample: Davis

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Davis by Pam Allen is a simple, boxy pullover which perfectly blends stockinette stitch and Quince and Co’s beautiful Kestrel yarn (100% linen) in a modern silhouette . We love the fact that the nature of this yarn keeps the edges from rolling, allowing for an unstructured yet pulled-together look. An incredibly comfortable piece with great drape and a cool textureAlthough the wide profile is balanced by very fitted sleeves for esthetic balance, we felt they were a little too narrow for the average gal and increased them a little in size. All modifications are listed on our Ravelry page.

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.
Buy Quince & Co. Kestrel on our website here.

– Melissa

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New store sample: Spring Lace Infinity Scarf

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The Spring Lace Infinity Scarf by Linda Thach is a lovely spring / summer project with a light, crisp structure. Knit with 2.5 skeins of Shibui Linen (20 colours currently in stock), the fabric is light and breathable – ideal for warm-weather wear. Although some will find it a little rough at first, be assured that this will become softer with every wear. The combination of leafy lace borders with stockinette and elongated stockinette sections creates a delicately textured loop that makes a pretty addition to any outfit!

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.
Shibui Linen is available in our online store here!

– Melissa

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Free pattern Friday: Sunray Shawl

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The Sunray Shawl by designer Dunkelgrün is one of those easily customizable patterns that lends itself well to adjustments in size as well as just about any yarn weight. Although the one pictured is knit with a fingering to sport weight yarn (370m / wingspan 65″), you can use any other weight (be sure to adjust your needle size) and / or knit additional repeats for a larger shawl. With a semicircular shape, decorative yarn-overs arranged like sunrays, and a picot edge, this shawl is pretty and feminine and beautifully textured.

The designer includes a link to a video tutorial for the picot-edge bind-off and notes that this pattern is suitable for beginners – including first-time shawl knitters, first-time lace knitters, and first-time picot-edge bind-off knitters – so, if you’ve been putting off trying out these types of projects, no more excuses. It’s time to take the leap :-)

– Melissa

One For My Fellow Sock Knitters – This Is How I Do It

Hi there. Today I have something to show to my fellow sock knitters – it’s a little trick I do and that I teach in my sock class, so nothing special, unless you had to deal with those pesky holes before and want to try to avoid them. When you knit socks and just finished the heel, you get to pick up the stitches for the gusset. Which is to pick up one stitch into each selvedge stitch you created on the heel flap. I cheat a bit when I do that. Let’s have a look:

IMG_9854I pick up the stitches as usual, except for the last one.

IMG_9861For the last one, I skip the selvedge stitch and look for the regular stitch in the row below – see the beige one with the circle.

IMG_9864See? That’s where you want to pick up the last stitch.

IMG_9870When you have knit the stitches of the top of the foot, it is time to pick up the stitches for the gusset on the other side of the heel flap. Look for the corresponding stitch on this side and pick up there, not in the first selvedge stitch.

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See? The arrow shows the little gap that is made by skipping the first selvedge stitch. When you are done that, you pick up the rest of your stitches as you would.

This way, there will be virtually no holes between the the heel flap and top of the sock, and the slightly larger gaps are closed neatly on the next row. This is how I do it!

Dear non-sock-knitters, please forgive the lack of information for you today, yet this is something I have wanted to share for a while. Now, if you feel like you want to become a sock knitter, guess what? There is a class coming up. Starting May 25th I’ll be teaching how to knit a sock – with double pointed needles and cuff down.

Give us a ring if you want to join, there are a few spaces left!

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona

Re-stocked: Woolfolk!

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The launch of Woolfolk last year by Kristin Ford took the knitting community by storm.  And after a stellar review of Woolfolk’s Får by Clara Parke’s on Knitter’s Review it sold out at many retailers within weeks. Thankfully, Kristin has increased production and we are happy to report that we are again fully stocked with all colours of both Tynd and Får.

Exquisitely soft and lustrous, Woolfolk yarn is made from Ultimate Merino®, an ecologically sourced and produced yarn which has been developed as part of a partnership between the Ovis 21 biodiversity and grasslands regeneration project and Patagonian farmers, the Nature Conservancy, and outdoor retailer Patagonia Inc. Ultimate Merino® has a micron count of 17.5, and combines the hand of cashmere with the wear of merino.

Woolfolk yarns are available exclusively at only a small number of hand-selected retail partners and we are honoured to be one of them.

Available in store and online here.

– Melissa

New store sample: Hamlin Peak

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Hamlin Peak by Pam Allen is a perfectly casual summer cardigan. This easy top-down sweater has clean lines and strategic shaping for a flattering fit.  Although this pattern originally calls for Quince and Co. Kestrel, because we’re already working up a store sample in that yarn (blog post coming soon), we opted for Rowan Pure Linen for this instead. We think  it works beautifully at this looser gauge giving the sweater a gorgeous drape, subtle sheen, and a very summery feel. At 16 1/2 stitches per 4″, Hamlin Peak knits up quickly and the straightforward raglan-style yoke and simple eyelet increases make for a minimalist yet pretty silhouette. So many wins!

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.
Click here to purchase Rowan Pure Linen in our online store.

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– Melissa

 

Our picks for Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is just around the corner but there’s still time to pick up the perfect gift! While choosing yarn for a knitter can sometimes be a tricky prospect, there are loads of other useful tools and accessories that are sure to be appreciated.

Here are just a few ideas:


SOAK

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Gentle and lightly scented, Soak is an ideal wash for cashmere, wool, cotton and other delicate fabrics.  Available in large (425 ml) and small bottles (90 ml) in the following scents: Aquae, Yuzu, Celebration, Lacey, and Scentless.

Purchase in store or online here.


ZigZag Stitches Boxy Bag

boxy_bags_2015Boxy Bags are handmade using designer Japanese fabrics. Each one is fully lined and beautifully crafted with reinforced seams. Great for storing and transporting knitting or craft projects, the bigger boxy bag will easily accommodate a shawl or small sweater. An interior pocket can hold notions and the bag itself will fit knitting needles or crochet hooks up to 10 inches long.
Approximately 10.5 inches x 5 inches x 5 inches (26cm x 13 cm x 13 cm)

Available in store and online.


DIGITAL ROW COUNTERS

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A digital row counter is the perfect accessory for hands free counting while you knit or crochet. No more stopping to make a mark on a piece of paper or cranking a manual row counter. The electronic counter has a 5 digit LCD screen display that can count from 0 up to 99999 rows with 2 soft touch rubberized silver buttons to control it. Made from ABS plastic, the same material used for Lego. The row counter uses a standard AG10 1.5v button cell battery, so when it wears out, simply unscrew the back of the counter to replace it.

Purchase in store or online here.


Bookhou “Knit Stitch” Tall Tote or Bucket Tote

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Bookhou’s hand-drawn, hand-screened prints on beautiful multi-purpose tote bags!
Purchase in store or online here and here.

 HiyaHiya Swarovski Crystal Stitch Markers

Put a little sparkle in your knitting with these handcrafted Swarovski Crystal Stitch Markers! Each set of 12 contains 11 stitch markers with a clear Swarovski Crystal bead, and 1 specialty stitch marker with a colored or shaped Swarovski Crystal Bead. Stitch markers come inside a useful accessory tin.
Purchase in store or online here.

SNAP ‘N GO NOTIONS CASES – JUMBO

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Jumbo-sized Snap ‘n Go Notions Cases™ have eight little compartments to keep all your knitting and crocheting notions neatly separated. Organize your life in a snap and go! The first side features four small rectangular compartments that are perfect for storing stitch markers, buttons, and other tiny knitting notions. Flip apart the second half to reveal three long compartments that are great for holding things like stitch holders, darning needles, and point protectors. Finally, the big single compartment sandwiched in the center is perfect for larger items like mini crochet hooks, cable needles, T-pins, and tape measures. This compact little beauty has a hard, sturdy outer shell made of heavy-duty plastic. A hole for a lanyard or key chain is located near the hinge. Notions not included.

Purchase in store or online here.


NEEDLE KITS

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Available in-store only.


THE GLEENER

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We couldn’t live without this wonder tool. Fuzzing and pilling are a fact of life with knitted garments and some fibers and blends are worse than others. Regular use of the Gleener will keep your pieces looking new and will even resuscitate some you thought were beyond repair. Not convinced? See before and after photos and product videos on the Gleener website.

Purchase in store or online here.


 “Keep Calm and Carry Yarn” Project Bags

Keep calm and carry yarn in these great project bags. Each cotton muslin bag is hand-dyed and screen printed by hand. Perfect for keeping your project organized and easy to grab when you’re on your way out. Image is printed on both sides of bag. Small version measures approximately 11″ x 10.5” / Large version 16″ x 16″.  Available in 11 colours.
Purchase in store or online here (Small) and here (Large).

Loqi Bags & Zip Pockets

 

loqi_bagsStrong , eco-friendly, reusable, chemical-free, long-lasting, water-resistant, washable. And extremely good looking.  A great on-the-go bag for all your shopping (and knitting / crafting) needs! Weighs just 1.9 oz but can carry up to 44 lbs.

Loqi ZIP Pockets

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Cellphone, wallet, and keys.  Stitch markers, cable needle, extra yarn. Each new adventure calls for its own set of tools. Loqi Zip Pockets come in families of 3.

Available in store or online here.


 Gingher Stork Scissors

Beautiful design and precise function are combined in these 3½ inch Stork Embroidery Scissors from Gingher. Each pair of scissors comes with a fitted leather sheath for storage.
Available in store or online here.

HIGHLIGHTER TAPEstocking_highlighter

A removable alternative to highlighter pens, LEE Highlighter Tape is great for use with knitting charts and patterns.

Purchase in store or online here.


 Espace Tricot Tote

Show your love for Espace Tricot. Our roomy eco-tote is made from 100% recycled cotton and is printed in the US. All seams and stress points are double stitched for durability.
16″W x 15.5″H; 5″ bottom gusset
Purchase in store or online here.

ESPACE TRICOT GIFT CARD

stocking_giftcardAvailable in any denomination! Can’t make it into the store to pick one up? Can also be purchased over the telephone and delivered by regular post or e-mail. Just give us a ring at 514 486-5648.


 

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Espace Tricot!

– Melissa

Free pattern Friday: Sweet Mama

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Note: This pattern is only free through end of day Mother’s Day 2015 (May 10) with coupon code MD2015.

J. L. Finkelstein’s Sweet Mama scarflette is a very easy and fun little confection that requires only a little bit of lace weight yarn to work up. If you have about 20g left in your stash from any of your previous projects, then you have enough! If you prefer something a little more substantial, simply adjust your needle-size and use a heavier weight yarn.

The pattern is easily adjusted in terms of size just by continuing the pattern past the specified dimensions – the result will be a lovely triangular shawl.  The scarflette is worked on a diagonal and can be easily ended at any size.

While the scarflette itself would make a great Mother’s Day gift, whipping this up in time for Sunday is probably not feasible for most of us.  That said, If the woman you plan to honour this weekend is a knitter, why not gift the pattern along with a beautifully indulgent skein of yarn?

Remember, Sweet Mama is only free through Sunday so be sure to download it in the next day or two even if you don’t plan to knit it right away.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!!

– Melissa

New Kestrel colours from Quince & Co.

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We blogged the arrival of Quince & Co’s original nine Kestrel colourways back in March but five more colours have been added this season and we now have them available both in-store and online.

Kestrel is a new take on Quince’s simple Sparrow yarn – the same Belgium-grown organic linen but spun this time in a ribbon structure.  The yarn’s flat surface adds a slight texture to knit and purl stitches and the finished fabric has incredible drape.  And at at 3½ to 4 stitches to the inch, Kestrel knits up quickly for satisfying projects that will surely be finished before summer is.

Have a look at our previous post for project ideas or browse Kestrel patterns on Ravelry for inspiration.

Lisa just finished Davis by Pam Allen with this yarn and it’s great – photos coming soon!

– Melissa

WWMD*

Today another edition of *What Would Mona Do.

As  you might have heard me say, I do love knitting with linen. I do like the crisp fabric – often called ‘scratchy’, however, I don’t think it is – of 100% linen. Everything that follows is valid for 100% linen, not mixes, not cotton, I am talking about LINEN. We have a variety of 100% linen at the store:

Euroflax Sport from Louet – it is wet spun and very crisp

Sparrow from Quince – spun from organic flax in Belgium

Kestrel from Quince – a ribbon yarn, also from organic flax

Linen from Shibui – a chainette, which makes it extra crisp

Don’t get me wrong, linen is not soft as cashmere or silk, but, and this is a big BUT, it gets softer and softer with wear. Every time you wash your linen it softens up more – up to a point when you cannot imagine it was ever really ‘crisp’ because all that is left is softness.

One way to get your linen softer sooner – and yes, that is the WWMD part of the post – is to wash it in the washing machine. On cold, if that makes you feel better, however, I am of the opinion linen is linen and can take warm water.

If you want to be sure that nothing untoward happens to your sweater (or whatever it is you want to soften) take your swatch and throw it into the next color wash you have to do.

This way you will figure out if the mechanical wash does impact your knitting – makes it grow or shrink lengthwise. It happens more to knits that are worked in a looser gauge, because there is just more leeway to do one or the other. When your item comes out of the washer, just pull it into form and lay flat to dry as ever.

Disclaimer: What follows is not for the faint of heart and I am not saying you should do it, all I am saying is: I did it.

I dried my Quince Sparrow sweater in the dryer on low. When I got it out it felt like it compacted a bit, but with wear it expanded again. If you do that,  you do not have any control about pulling it into the shape you want it, because when it is dry it is dry and the shape cannot be changed – until the next wash, when you get another chance to pull it into form when wet.

Happy knitting, as ever!

– Mona

New in store: Sail Shawl Kits from SweetGeorgia

Sail Shawl Kit

Sail Shawl Kit

With a simple, modern construction, SweetGeorgia’s gently asymmetrical Sail Shawl evokes a nautical, summertime feel. The entire shawl is worked with knit stitches only, making for an easy, relaxing project. Pick your favorite colours and watch the colourblocks come to life!

Sail Shawl Kit

Kit includes the Sail Shawl pattern as well as three skeins of yarn (Tough Love Sock + Glitterati Sock). Choose from the following colourways:

  • Shoots & Leaves (Basil, Melon, Laurel)
  • Caramel Pecan (Auburn, Ginger, Tumbled Stone)
  • Citrus Sparkler (Coral Rose, Grapefruit, Birch)
  • Evening Song (Ultraviolet, Mulberry, Wisteria)
  • Dark & Stormy (Nightshade, Sapphire, Dreamboat)

Shoots & Leaves

Caramel Pecan

Citrus Sparkler

Evening Song

Dark & Stormy

Finished measurements

  • Width: 63” / 160 cm at top edge
  • Height: 19.75” / 50 cm at center spine

Kits can be purchased in-store or online here.

– Melissa